30 December, 2016

The Chicago Cubs and the Curse of the Billy Goat

Zeiss Loxia 50mm - On the way to the Billy Goat [Click image to enlarge]

The story goes that in game 4 of the 1945 World Series, William Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern was asked to remove his pet goat, Murphy (for whom he had a ticket), from Wrigley Field. In retaliation Sianis, supposedly, cursed the Cubs.

Well, whatever curse there might have been ended with the Cubs win of the 2016 World Series. For my part I wasn't watching the games, as I assumed from the early Cub losses that they remained doomed.

So when we visited Chicago this month, my Bride and I decided to revisit the Billy Goat Tavern and Grill on Lower Michigan Avenue. I hadn't been in the Billy Goat for over thirty years. It seemed just the same — except for one small change: They now serve Coke instead of Pepsi.


Aside from the curse, the Billy Goat Tavern was the inspiration for the Saturday Night Live routine, the Olympia Restaurant (see below). Behind the counter are John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray. The customers are Jane Curtain, Gilda Radner, Garrett Morris, and Robert Klein (who hosted that night - January 28, 1978), and the waitress was Laraine Newman. Washing dishes in the back is Don Novello (who wrote the script).

The Billy Goat had been a haunt of Second City comedians and newspaper people from the Tribune and the Sun-Times, both (then) nearby.

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